Holstein Steer Butcher Time?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Maeschak, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I realize this might be a long shot, but not sure where else to ask- anyone know how to tell when a Holstein steer is ready to butcher? I have a 19 month old steer that has been on hay, pasture and grain since he was weaned. Someone today told me they thought he was ready, referencing a fat pad around his tail but I honestly cannot see any fat pad...

    And help is appreciated~
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Everyone I know that does Holstein steers butchers them between 18-24 months. Around here, the exact time depends on when the calf was born, and what season it is. If they're 18 months in the fall, they get butchered rather than be fed (expensive) hay for another winter. As it's spring now, if you've got access to pasture, I'd let him go until fall.
     
  3. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much- he is 19 months now and yes, he has access to pasture now and all year. People had told me it would take 2-3 years to grow him out so I thought I had until fall before butchering time... I was pretty surprised folks told me he looked ready right now! Im guessing the folks who gave me the 2-3 year advice figured he would be almost exclusively on grass until the end.
     
  4. Talithahorse

    Talithahorse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's really up to you. We had a 2 year old Steer and he was very good eating. It took us over a year to catch him. In the mean time we took his brother at 18 mo. Knowing what I know now, I feel like we got more bang for our buck at 2 years old (but check as some places won't take them over 2 because they get too big to handle. I also felt that the one we butchered in spring whose last meals were that good spring grass was very very good but too be honest there wasn't a big enough difference that we could really differentiate between the two beyond the filet mignon and ribeyes. When we do our next batch I will probably take them about 20 months old (of course ours were steers and not bulls. That might make a difference).
     
  5. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good to know... maybe I will shoot for about a month after the spring grasses start growing in the pasture. Give him a little time on some good fresh grass before butchering.
     
  6. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    We butchered our beeves when they had the right amount of finish.
     
  7. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @cassie - How do you know what the right amount of finish is? I have read about finish on traditional meat cows (good layer of fat on brisket area, in between last two ribs, fat collecting in cod, fat donut around tail head)... but Holstein's won't get fat like that will they? Or at least my untrained eye is having difficulty...
     
  8. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

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    The proper amount of finish is a matter of personal preference as much as anything. We butchered our Angus and Hereford steers at about 14 months of age. I found it took Holsteins a lot longer to reach the same amount of finish. This is because they are bigger framed and slower to mature than the beef breeds. We butchered the Holsteins at 20 to 24 months or so. How fat they get will depend on how much grain they are fed. I put all my beeves on full feed, meaning all the grain and alfalfa hay they would eat, for some time before I butchered them. I don't remember now exactly how long that was. It wasn't economical the way I fed, but at the time I had access to cheap feed. Given enough time and enough feed, Holstein steers will put on a good fat cover. I had a neighbor who raised Holstein steers for beef. She kept hers for three years. By that time hers were nice and plump even though she kept hers primarily on good pasture and grain fed them only the last few weeks. It is kind of a case of you pays your money and you takes your choice.

    I'm sorry I cannot be more helpful. It has been quite a few years since I last raised a beef and I have forgotten a lot. If I ever raise another, I will see if I can find a Jersey Angus cross calf.
     
  9. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much, every little bit of info helps!
     

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